By Ralph Sesay
Military sources have intimated the general public that the Ministry of Defence and the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, have disclosed that they have commenced preparations towards establishing a new Infantry Brigade in the eastern region of the country.
The new plan, according to the Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General, Brima Sesay, stated that the new brigade headquarters will be stationed in Kenema with a component of three infantry battalions to cover Kenema, Kailahun and Kono Districts in the East.
The Military boss added that three senior military officers have been designated to spearhead the new infantry brigade.
Colonel A.S Bockarie, Lieutenant Colonels H.S Jalloh and M.A.B Koroma have all been appointed to act as Acting Brigade Commander, Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff respectively for the new brigade.
The establishment of the new infantry brigade is done in accordance with the current review of the military structure which calls for re-establishing an infantry brigade in every region across the country, the military says.
It was also revealed that the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) strength after the war was downsized from 17,000 to 8,500 soldiers, and that the then structure provided that an infantry brigade should be located in each of the four administrative regions i.e West, South and East.
The Chief of Defence Staff clearly noted that they have only started to put the structures in place against the backdrop that there are huge financial and material implications in the establishment of a new brigade.
The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces also disclosed to journalists that they are reviewing the military structure to be able to deploy strategically and effectively to protect our borders and the territorial integrity of the country.
The Military authorities had also used the session to clear the air on what they referred to as erroneous reports on an alleged missing baby at the 34 Military Hospital reported by Benetta Kargbo, and noted that they are happy to report that after thorough investigations of four of their personnel by the Criminal Investigations Department and based on the advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions, all four personnel were cleared and have no case to answer to the allegations.
They concluded that they view the accusations against their hospital staff as an attempt to taint the reputable image of the 34 Military Hospital which they stated has stood the test of time in addressing the health needs of both civilian and military personnel in the country.
By Ralph Sesay